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Retrospec Review (Pros and Cons of a Cheap Amazon Bike)

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Bicycle-loving, city-riding, online-shopping, deal-seeking, honest reviewer.

My cheap Amazon bike (Retrospec Mantra Fixie Bicycle), still in good shape 2 years after purchase!

My cheap Amazon bike (Retrospec Mantra Fixie Bicycle), still in good shape 2 years after purchase!

Are Cheap Amazon Bikes Good?

As you might expect, there are some trade-offs to be made when ordering a cheap bicycle online. While it is a great way to save money and pretty convenient to have it shipped to your door, there are some risks and effort involved that need to be considered.

I've ordered two Retrospec Mantra Fixie Bicycles online from Amazon (one for me and one for my boyfriend). Our experience has been mostly positive, with a few caveats. I'll share the pros and cons, as well as some tips if you decide to go the same route I did.

Pros and Cons of Amazon Retrospec Bikes

Pros

  • The low, low price! The bikes we saw from Retrospec Bicycles were around half the price of similar bikes in stores.
  • Convenient and free shipping. The bikes shipped to our door in under a week, for free. We live in Canada, so this isn't common for large packages.
  • What you see online is what you get. The bikes actually looked nicer in person. Mine has a sparkly glow and the white wheels reflect light, making it safer to ride at night.
  • They're extremely light. I was looking for this, as my last bike was clunky and hard to maneuver.

Cons

  • There is some DIY involved. The bikes arrived mostly assembled. The wheels are on, and the frame is in one piece. However, you will have to put the brakes on yourself. There are instructions included and they are pretty easy to follow. This particular bike has a way to make the brakes so they are either fixed gear (brake with your pedal) or single gear (brake with the hand brake).
  • Air is not included. You will need to pump up the tires yourself or fill them at a bike shop.
  • Some guessing is required. With online ordering, you can't hop on the bike to test it like you would in a store. Read the reviews and ask the seller for size recommendations if you are unsure.
Since my cheap Amazon bike was a success, my boyfriend ordered one in grey. This one has held up as well, but the tire had to be replaced after he rode over a sharp object.

Since my cheap Amazon bike was a success, my boyfriend ordered one in grey. This one has held up as well, but the tire had to be replaced after he rode over a sharp object.

It was tricky to find a bike basket that would work with the low handlebars of this bike, but I'm happy with this one.

It was tricky to find a bike basket that would work with the low handlebars of this bike, but I'm happy with this one.

Would I Recommend the Retrospec Mantra?

Yes, if you are willing to do some minor assembly yourself. You can also bring it to a bike repair shop and ask them to assemble it for you (you can often get this done for as little as $10–$20).

If time is of the essence, then you might be better off going into a bike store and buying in person. They will still have to adjust it to your height and fill the tires, but you'll get to test it in person, although you will likely pay much more for this privilege.

It's up to you...are you willing to sacrifice a bit of time and energy in order to save money on a bike?

© 2018 Abby

Comments

Cerio on April 21, 2018:

Thank you for sharing this info, Abby! It's very insightful. Followed you!